HONG KONG, Nov 8 ― Hong Kong tops a list of the most visited cities in the world for international arrivals, in a new ranking which confirms that Asia-Pacific is the world's leading tourism powerhouse thanks to the “unstoppable” rise of Chinese outbound tourism.
In the latest tourism ranking from global market research provider Euromonitor, the top 10 list of the most visited cities is dominated by cities across Asia-Pacific which take up more than half the index.
With 26.6 million international arrivals in 2016, Hong Kong leads the 2017 edition of the list, followed by Bangkok (21.2 million), and London (19.2 million).
“Asia Pacific is the standout region that has driven change in the travel landscape and is expected to continue doing so in the coming decade with Singapore overtaking London as the third most visited city in the world by 2025 making the podium fully Asian,” said senior travel analyst Wouter Geerts in a statement.
Euromonitor's ranking follows another report from the World Travel and Tourism Council, which identified Chongqing in China as the fastest growing tourism city. The list is likewise comprised entirely of cities in Asia-Pacific.
Along with the top 10 list, other interesting findings from the report include travel projections and emerging tourism trends.
For example, by 2025, cities like Dubai, Macau and Singapore are expected to climb the ranking and overtake London, while Delhi is predicted to overtake Paris and New York in international tourism arrivals.
Paris and New York are ranked 7th and 8th respectively.
Speaking of Paris, the French capital and Nice are the only two cities in France to appear in the top 100 ranking, both of which recorded decline in 2016-2017.
They're also the weakest performing cities in Europe when it comes to international arrivals, falling one per cent in the same period.
Overall, analysts point out that the migrant crisis, Brexit and threats of terrorist attacks have hampered tourism across Europe with the exception of Greece, Italy and Spain.
The European cities that recorded the biggest growth are Heraklion and Athens in Greece, which saw double digit growth in 2017 ― two sun-soaked destinations, unaffected by threats of terrorism.
While Barcelona wears the crown for being the most visited city in Spain with more than 7 million visitors, international arrivals are expected to grow faster in Madrid than its Catalan counterpart in 2017 (8.8 per cent versus 8.3 per cent), following the political unrest in the region.
With a growth of 7 per cent, Johannesburg is the only sub-Saharan city to crack the top 100 destinations listing.
Likewise, the only city from mainland China to crack the top 10 index is Shenzhen, having received double the number of international tourist arrivals than Shanghai.
China's formidable influence in the ranking rests in its outbound tourism numbers.
The top ten most visited cities are:
1. Hong Kong: 26.6 million visitors
2. Bangkok: 21.2 million visitors
3. London: 19.2 million visitors
4. Singapore: 16.6 million visitors
5. Macau: 15.4 million visitors
6. Dubai: 14.9 million visitors
7. Paris: 14.4 million visitors
8. New York: 12.7 million visitors
9. Shenzhen: 12.6 million visitors
10. Kuala Lumpur: 12.3 million visitors ― AFP-Relaxnew